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New name, same place: Central Northside adopts new name for itself, now Allegheny City Central

By Katie Walsh
On September 13, 2012

  • West Park, in Central Northside, is a popular area for residenst to walk their dogs. Central Northside will now call itself Allegheny City Central, with the slogan “All Together. Different.”. Fred Blauth / Photo Editor

Now approaching, Allegheny City Central.

In order to try and rid itself of th negative connotations tied with its former name, the Central Northside Neighborhood Council has voted to change the community's name and slogan.

For the past two years, residents and the CNNC have been working to change the neighborhood's name from the Central Northside to Allegheny City Central. The members of the CNNC and residents voted on the change on Sept. 10 with 99 votes for and 29 against, with one invalid vote towards the name change. Those involved hope to create a new and better identity for the community. The new slogan, "All Together. Different." is seen by many as a way to bring the community together and create positive change. Alongside residents and the CNNC who initiated the change, many businesses in the area think that the name change can only have positive effects on the community.

The new name, Allegheny City Central, originates from the area's original name in 1907, prior to the area being incorporated into the city of Pittsburgh, according to Barbara Talerico, the president of the CNNC. Removing themselves from the name of Northside, residents and the CNNC believe that they will be able to remove themselves from the crime-filled history of the neighborhood and into a better designation in people's minds.

"The neighborhood is changing, it's more positive," Talerico said. "The name harkens to [the community's] glory day."

Talerico said that after submitting a Request for Proposal to the city after a great amount of community and neighborhood planning, the Council decided that the community required rebranding. Making this decision, the Council created a branding committee to decide on a name several months ago.

"For a place that has really turned around in the past couple of years, [the name] is a clarification of who we are," Talerico said.

While the change is made at a neighborhood level, the city has played a small part in it. According to Andrew Dash, the senior planner of the City of Pittsburgh, the neighborhood and the city have had intermittent conversations over the past year discussing the issue in order to merely keep the city of Pittsburgh in the loop of the changes.

"If neighborhoods want to do that, it's often separate from the city ...The city is not necessarily involved in it," Dash said.

Some residents, like Patt Ledewitz, 62, and resident for nine years, believe that the change has been made so that more developers will want to build in the community instead of being scared off by the negative connotations of the previous name. Although she did not necessarily dislike the idea of a name change, Ledewitz did say that it could be a bit naïve.

"Developers don't want anything to do with Northside. It's naive to think that if you change the name of the neighborhood, developers will want to develop here," Ledewitz said.

Missy Steele, 26 , an employee of the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh who has been living in the Central Northside for the past eight years, understood the meaning behind the name change but was also unsure if it would work.

"I don't know if a rebranding would change much," Steele said.

Another resident, William Heller, a grill cook who has been living in the neighborhood for only two months, said that it seemed like an unnecessary change.

Although only individuals, not businesses, were able to vote according to an email from Talerico to The Duke¸ some businesses have been involved in the process since the beginning. Rene Conrad, the executive director of the New Hazlett Theater at 6 Allegheny Square East of the neighborhood, said that the CNNC made an advanced presentation of the proposed name change and slogan to the Theater as well as other select businesses in the area prior to presenting it to residents.

"I think anything that will help draw the community together is good," Conrad said.

And other businesses agree. Bill Schlageter, director of marketing for the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh off of Alleghany Square in the Central Northside was happy that the community was coming together to create further positive changes to the neighborhood as it has been in recent years. Schlageter said that the Children's Museum is an active member of the community, although not part of the name change, saw the name change only having positive effects.

"[The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh] is really happy that the neighbors and neighborhood are becoming active in shaping their identity," Schlageter said.

Adam Johnston, one of the owners of the James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy on 422 Foreland Street of the neighborhood recognized that the name could have been necessary for the community to build a new identity. However, like residents Steele and Ledewitz, didn't know if it would have a significant impact.

"I can see how they would want to put a different spin on it, there's a stigma around here. I see their

logic wanting to revitalize it," Johnston said.
Although Johnston had been unaware of the name change, he admitted that he could see the possibility of more people coming to his restaurant and bar without having the stigma of the Northside.


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